Monday, November 8, 2010

On the law of diminished attempt

As you may have noticed, I've got more than a bit of my heart and hope dedicated to the upcoming DC Comic T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. I've spent no small time spreading the word about the book, the original series, any angle I can come up with.

Trying to get a comic reader to try a new book is like trying to convince a kid to eat a new food, and the arguments made are often just as illogical. Every time a new comic comes along, especially one based on an old title, you're going to get a number of pat reasons that a reader will not be trying it:

I don't like that writer/artist/character Perfectly reasonable; no reason you should have to try a book by a person you don't care for.  Of course, there's always the chance this is the book that works for you, but if you've sampled a person's work and don't like it, at least there's some personal experience behind the argument. They have to convince themselves it's worth the look.  But often, even more frustrating is the inverse:

I like the character as he was One of the eternal complaints of the comic fan.  changes get made to a character, sometimes rather small, often quite sweeping, but all too large for some dedicated fans.  The new Blue Beetle had a lo9t going for it, but a lot against it in many fans' eyes.  The argument was that they "deliberately" killed off Ted Kord so they could create a new version of the character, a PC one that exists solely to pander to minorities and special interest groups.  This argument often had an air of "We're not talking about Ted anymore, are we?" but there was no shifting some of the Tedfen.  And it's a damn shame, because the latest Blue Beetle was some of the most lighthearted and entertaining work to come from DC in a long while.  The comics fans may not have taken to him, but the animation fans sure have - the new Blue Beetle has regularly been the most popular character on Brave and the Bold, and the recent live-action CGI test footage DC leaked suggests we'll be seeing more.

Now, an argument based on personal opinion (wrong or right) is damn hard to shift.  I can only get too frustrated over them, even if it's a book I really think a person would like if they gave it a shot.  But the saddest reason I've heard against a new book is...

"What's the point, they're only going to cancel it anyway"

How defeatist does that sound?  That's the argument of a guy who's had one too many (too few, perhaps?) failed relationships and has soured on personal contact in general.  They've gotten into one book too many, only to have it canceled out from under them, leaving them with a small number of issues that almost don't warrant it's own title card in the Longbox. 

And so when the next book comes along, there's one less pair of eyes willing to give it a bash, and the road to cancellation goes just a bit faster.  And they click their tongues and say "you see?" and ask for their three copies of X-Whatevers. 

I hope I never get that jaded.  I'm as dedicated a Ted Kord fan as they come, But when the new book came out, I gave it a fair try, and was delighted at what I found. 

The Kid gave Scratch 9 a look, and it's now her other Wednesday Night Thing, next to her future husband Sonic the Hedgehog. 

The Wife is reading all the Muppet titles, long having forgotten the sting of every comic she put her love into getting pulled away like a teacher grabbing your baseball cards after the bell rang.  She's STILL getting over the cancellation of Lloyd Llewellyn.

But here's the deal - you never know what book is going to be good.  Keep your eyes open, at least give the various previews a look, and don't just give up and buy a new cushion for your rut.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I'm still getting over LLOYD LLEWELLYN and so many other quirky, delightful short-lived comics (not to mention TV series; ANDY BARKER, P.I., we hardly knew ye...but I digress). Happily with the Muppet titles and other marvelously insane indies, not to mention TINY TITANS, my comics-loving heart will go on, not to put the whammy on it! :-) Great blog post!